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Executive Assistant vs Chief Operating Officer (COO) vs Vice President

Primary Role:

Executive Assistant: Administrative and organizational support for executives

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Manages day-to-day operations of the company

Vice President: Senior executive role, overseeing a specific division or function

Reporting Relationship:

Executive Assistant: Reports directly to the executive they support

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Typically reports to CEO or President

Vice President: Reports to CEO or higher executive level

Scope of Responsibilities:

Executive Assistant: Focused on day-to-day tasks and administrative duties

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Oversees all operational activities (finance, HR, etc.)

Vice President: Wide-ranging, depending on the specific area of responsibility

Decision-Making Authority:

Executive Assistant: Limited to administrative decisions

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Significant authority over operations

Vice President: High level, strategic decisions within their area

Strategic Planning:

Executive Assistant: Limited involvement, support capacity

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Involved in the strategic planning process and responsible for implementing the strategy at an operational level

Vice President: Integral to strategic planning in their area of responsibility

Team Management:

Executive Assistant: Manages administrative staff

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Manages multiple teams or departments across the organization

Vice President: Manages a large team or department

Meeting Involvement:

Executive Assistant: Scheduling, preparing materials, taking minutes

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Often leads meetings related to operations and strategy implementation

Vice President: Leads meetings within their area of responsibility

Project Management:

Executive Assistant: Manages small projects within their role

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Oversees large-scale projects that affect multiple areas of the company

Vice President: May oversee strategic projects within their area

Communication:

Executive Assistant: Facilitates internal communication

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Responsible for communicating decisions and strategies to the teams they manage and the broader organization

Vice President: Responsible for high-level communication within their area

Professional Development:

Executive Assistant: Focused on improving administrative and organizational skills

Chief Operating Officer (COO): Focuses on the professional development of the teams they manage

Vice President: Focuses on leadership and management skills in their domain

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